Butternut Squash Tacos with Apple Chutney, Kale and Tzatziki

Another veggie taco but will fall flavors. For the apple chutney, I added a bit less sugar than you would normally do because I wanted it to still have some tang. I also added chili flakes for some heat and kept the cooking time short because I wanted the apples to still hold their shape. I massaged the kale in a simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and salt. The fritters are super simple but crunchy on the outside because of the corn meal. And the tzatziki sauce just makes it all come together and adds some freshness to the dish. Make sure to get all the toppings in one bite.

This recipe makes 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

For the tzatziki sauce:

1 cucumber, shredded (except for the core and seeds) and squeezed

1 ½ cups of Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the butternut squash fritters:

2 cups of shredded butternut squash, squeezed

½ cup of yellow cornmeal

½ cup of all-purpose flour

1 egg

1 egg yolk

A good pinch of salt

A good pinch of onion powder

Cayenne to taste

For the apple chutney:

4 small apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes

Juice of 3 oranges

Zest of 1 orange

1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 white onion, finely chopped into cubes

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1/2 a tablespoon of chili flakes (or to taste)

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of honey

For the Kale salad:

6 cups of shredded kale

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of white vinegar

Salt

Extras:

12 small tortillas

1 cup of pomegranate seeds

Vegetable oil for frying the fritters

 

Start by making the apple chutney, you can also do it a few days in advance and keep it in the fridge covered. Just place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook it for about 17 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated but the apples still hold their shape. Stir from time to time so the bottom doesn’t burn. Transfer it to a bowl to cool down.

To make the tzatziki sauce, make sure to squeeze the cucumber as much as you can, otherwise the sauce will become too watery. Mix the squeezed shredded cucumber with the Greek yogurt, mint, dill, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep it in the fridge covered until ready to serve.

To make the butternut squash fritters, mix the shredded squash with the rest of the ingredients.

Pour about 1/4 of a cup of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. To make the fritters, pour about 1 tablespoon of the batter into the hot pan. Do it in batches. Cook until golden on both sides. This will only take a few minutes. Place the fritters on the plate lined with parchment paper.

To make the kale salad, place the shredded kale in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegar and salt. Massage it with your hands so that it gets evenly coated in the dressing.

Warm up the tortillas in a pan. Serve each taco with some kale salad, apple chutney, a couple of fritters, tzatziki sauce and some pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!

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Tamarind Roasted Chickpea Tacos with Apple & Cabbage Slaw

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It’s taco Tuesday again and I have a thing for vegetarian tacos. This time I made an apple and cabbage slaw with buttermilk dressing. And for protein, I made my tamarind roasted chickpeas again. It’s such a delicious combination. Tangy, sweet and spicy!

This recipe is for 12 small tacos.

Ingredients:

12 small tortillas

For the tamarind roasted chickpeas:

260grs of canned chickpeas, drained

2 tablespoons of tamarind paste

4 tablespoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons of honey

Pinch of salt

Pinch of Pepper

Pinch of cayenne

For the Slaw:

4 cups of finely chopped cabbage

1 apple, shredded or julienned (I used Royal Gala)

For the slaw dressing:

1/3 cup of buttermilk

1 teaspoon of mustard

1 tablespoon of finely chopped parsley

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

¼ cup of Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of sugar

Celery salt to taste (I used about 1 teaspoon)

Pinch of chili flakes

Extras:

1 avocado, thinly sliced

Coriander leaves

Chili flakes to taste (optional)

1 chopped red chili (optional)

 

Start by roasting the chickpeas. Preheat your oven to 160C/320F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the tamarind paste, brown sugar, olive oil, honey, cayenne, salt and pepper. Then add the drained chickpeas and mix well. Spread the chickpeas on the prepared baking sheet. Roast them for 15 minutes. Then stir and increase the temperature to 180C/350F. Roast them for an extra 20 minutes. Turn off the oven and keep the chickpeas in the oven until ready to serve.

To make the slaw, whisk all of the ingredients for the dressing in a medium bowl. In another bowl, mix the cabbage with the apple. Then pour in the dressing and mix well. Let it rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Once the slaw has rested in the fridge and you are ready to serve, warm up the tortillas in a pan and remove the roasted chickpeas from the oven. Place some of the slaw on each tortilla. Add the roasted chickpeas, a few coriander leaves and avocado slices. Top with chili flakes and chopped red chili to taste. Enjoy!

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Apple, Cardamom & Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

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My sweet tooth was bugging me again so I gave in. I’ve wanted to make this recipe for a couple of weeks already but didn’t find the time. The combination of apple, cinnamon and cardamom is just irresistible. I made apple chips and placed one chip in between each slice of the dough, so when you pull it out you get a lovely apple surprise. You can also use store-bought chips, but if you want to make them at home, you can find the recipe by clicking here. Just don’t add the cayenne and sumac. I’ve recently started to use Snapchat, so if you would like to get peeks of Amsterdam just add me. Snapchat: cravingsinams

This recipe is for a 25cm loaf pan.

Ingredients:

For the dough:

3 ½ cups of All-purpose flour

7gr dry yeast

1 cup of milk

1 tablespoon of cardamom powder

1 teaspoon of salt

4 tablespoons of butter, melted and cooled

1/3 cup of sugar

1 egg

For the Filling:

3/4 cup of sugar

1 ½ tablespoons of cinnamon powder

1 teaspoon of cardamom powder

3 tablespoons of melted butter

2 apples made into apple chips, you can buy them but I made them at home. Recipe here (just skip the cayenne and sumac)

Extras:

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)

 

Pour the milk into a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cardamom powder and whisk it. Once it starts to simmer, turn off the heat. Transfer it to a bowl and let it cool down to lukewarm.

Place the yeast and the lukewarm cardamom milk in the bowl of the stand mixer. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Place the rest of the ingredients for the dough in the bowl with the yeast.

Knead on low speed for 5 minutes, using the dough hook attachment.  If you knead it by hand, it will take about 10 minutes.

Then remove the dough from the bowl. Clean the bowl and then grease it with a bit of vegetable oil. Form the dough into a ball and place it back into the greased bowl. Cover with plastic film and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Once the hour has passed, line your loaf pan with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and lightly flour your working area.

Mix the sugar, cinnamon powder and cardamom powder for the filling in a small bowl.

Roll out one piece of dough into a rectangle of about 44×22 centimeters. Brush it with some melted butter. Then sprinkle some of the spiced sugar all over it. Then using a pizza cutter slice the dough in two lengthwise. Then cut each long slice into 6 pieces, so you have a total of 12 pieces. Place 1 apple chip on top of each piece. Stack each piece on top of the other. Arrange it in half of the prepared loaf pan. Repeat for the remaining piece of dough. Keep the leftover spiced sugar.

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Let it rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. About 10 minutes before the time is up, preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Once the 30 minutes are up, brush the top with some egg wash and sprinkle some of the remaining spiced sugar.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden. About 20 minutes in, check if it’s getting too dark because of the spiced sugar. If it is, cover the top with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.

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Kale, Gorgonzola, Butternut squash, Apple & Strawberry Salad with Date Vinaigrette

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A simple warm salad for these colder months. I love the sweetness that the dates give to the dressing, to add some more flavor I added a shot of port. It’s important to really massage the kale with the vinaigrette to make it softer and for the dressing to really get through.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

For the salad:        

200grs of shredded kale

1 granny smith apple, thinly sliced

1 small butternut squash, chopped into small cubes

200grs of gorgonzola, crumbled

6 large strawberries, cut into small cubes

3 tablespoons of olive oil, to cook the butternut squash

Salt

Pepper

For the date vinaigrette:

1 small white onion, chopped very fine

5 tablespoons of olive oil

8 small dates, chopped very fine

1 shot of port

1/3 cup of red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt

Pepper

 

To make the vinaigrette, place the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onions, dates, salt and pepper. Lower the heat to low and cook for about 6 minutes, while stirring. Then add the shot of port and cook for about 2 minutes, to let the alcohol evaporate. Turn off the heat and transfer it to a jar with a lid. Add the vinegar and honey. Close the jar and shake it to emulsify the vinaigrette. Taste for salt and pepper.

Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a large pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the chopped butternut squash, salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes, stirring from time to time until it is cooked through. Set it aside.

Place the shredded kale in a large bowl. Add the vinaigrette and massage the kale with your hands. This will allow the dressing to really get in.

Divide the kale among 3 plates. Then add the butternut squash, strawberries, gorgonzola and apple. Enjoy!

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Duck Breast Salad with Orange – Poppy Seed Vinaigrette

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I love duck breast and it’s something I don’t eat very often. Usually I have to go to a butcher to get it because regular supermarkets here don’t carry it unless it’s the holiday season. That time of the year has come and when I saw it at the supermarket, I couldn’t resist. This is a salad you can have as a first course or main, perfect for the holidays. And it doesn’t require a lot of time which is very handy if you want to host a dinner.

This recipe serves 2. If you would like it as a main course, I find it nicer to get 1 duck breast per person.

Ingredients:         

For the vinaigrette:

½ cup of fresh orange juice

½ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon of poppy seeds

2 tablespoons of honey

Salt

Pepper

For the duck:

1 duck breast, about 225grs.

Salt

Pepper

For the salad:

1/3 cup of dried cranberries

2 apples, thinly sliced (I used one Royal Gala and one Granny Smith)

1 persimmon, thinly sliced

40grs of baby kale

75grs of arugula

 

To make the vinaigrette, just place all of the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies. Taste for salt and set it aside. Just re-shake it right before serving.

To cook the duck breast, first preheat the oven to 200C/390F. Trim any excess skin that is just hanging off the meat. Using a sharp knife, score the fat of the breast in a criss-cross pattern.  Season it with salt and pepper on both sides.

Heat up a cast iron skillet or oven-proof pan over medium heat. Place the duck breast with the skin side down and let the fat render off for 4 minutes. Then sear the meat side for 1 minute.  Finally turn the breast fat side down again and place it in the oven for 5 minutes. This will give you a medium to medium rare duck breast depending on the size of it. Once the breast is cooked, let it rest for 5 minutes and then thinly slice it.

To plate up, mix the arugula with the baby kale and divide it among 2 plates. Add the cranberries, apples and persimmon.  Then add the sliced duck breast and serve with the dressing on the side.

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Spicy Apple Chips

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When I was younger and still living with my parents I used to make apple chips more often. That had to do with the fact that they had two large ovens so I could make big batches in one go. Now with a small oven, It just takes longer so I don’t make them as often as I’d like. They are such a great snack. Recently I got a craving for a Mexican lollipop a friend of mine brought me back from Mexico some years ago. They were apple lollipops with a spicy citrus flavor similar to the flavor of Tajin seasoning powder. I used to have that powder in my pantry but I was out. So I added sumac for the citrus flavor and cayenne for heat. It’s a very addictive snack.This recipe makes a small batch.

Ingredients:

For the simple syrup:

2 cups of water

2 cups of sugar

For the chips:

2 apples, thinly sliced with a mandoline (I used one Granny Smith and one Royal Gala)

Cayenne

Sumac

 

Preheat the oven to 110C/230F. Line a baking tray or more with parchment paper.

To make the simple syrup, just place the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then transfer it to a bowl and let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Once the simple syrup has cooled down, place the apple slices in the syrup. Let them sit there for 1 minute. this will help make the apple chips very crispy. Then strain them and spread the slices over the prepared baking tray. Sprinkle with some cayenne and sumac. A little cayenne goes a long way here; you can be a bit more generous with the sumac.  Bake them for 1 ½ hours or until crispy.  I like to lift each chip from the parchment paper and move them about an hour into the baking, so they are less likely to break once you take them out and they are complete crispy. They are best when eaten right away, otherwise allow them to cool down and store them in an airtight container till the next day. They are so light and crispy, it’s hard not to finish them in one go.

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Brûléed Apple Butter Pie

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Fall is finally showing its face.  While biking around town last Sunday, we found this beautiful building covered in autumn leaves. On our way back home, we went through the park to pick some leaves I wanted to use as props for this pie.

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I’ve wanted to get a kitchen torch for a while, and last weekend I finally did. This was the first thing I brûléed. This is not your traditional apple pie. I made it thinking of pumpkin pie. Just that instead of using pumpkin puree, I used apple butter.

Since the apple butter takes about 4 hours to make (not something I plan to make often), I made a big batch to have some leftover, and enjoy it on other dishes. If you only want it for this recipe, you can just make half a batch. I found this recipe for apple butter on the Food Network’s website. I just slightly adapted it and it turned out delicious. I made the apple butter the night before so it had enough time to cool down.

This recipe is for a 23Cm pie mold.

Ingredients:

For the apple butter:

3 kilos of apples, peeled and chopped (I used royal gala)

1 cup of apple cider vinegar

1 1/3 cup of brown sugar

Pinch of salt

Juice of ½ a lime

Pinch of cinnamon or more to taste

1 ½ tablespoons of vanilla extract

For the pie crust:

1 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour

¾ tablespoon of sugar

Pinch of salt

113gr of butter, cold and cut into cubes

3 tablespoons of cold water

For the filling:

400grs of the apple butter, at room temperature

3 eggs

¼ cup of sour cream

1 vanilla bean

2 tablespoons of sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup of heavy cream

Extras:

Egg wash

Sugar

 

To make the apple butter:

Preheat the oven to 120C/250F. Place the apples, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and salt in an oven proof pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat. Add the lime juice, cinnamon and vanilla. Then blend the apples until smooth, I used an immersion blender.

Bake uncovered for 3 ½ hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

Once the apple butter is done, allow it to cool down completely before transfering it to an airtight container. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To make the pie crust:

You can make the pie crust in the food processor, by hand or in the stand mixer.  I used my stand mixer fitted with the flat beater. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the cold butter pieces, mix it with a spatula. Then mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then add the cold water and mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until you have an even dough.

Place the dough on your floured working area. Dust it with enough flour so it doesn’t stick. Roll it big enough to cover the bottom of the pie mold. Place the dough on the bottom of the pie mold, press with your fingers so the sides stick and trim the edges. Refrigerate it for 1 hour.

To make the pie:

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place the sugar, vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan with the cream, let it come to a simmer and then turn off the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the apple butter with the sour cream, eggs and salt. Then slowly whisk in the cream. Discard the vanilla pod.

Take the pie crust out of the fridge and brush the edges with the egg wash. Pour the filing into the pie crust. Be careful that it doesn’t overflow. You will have some extra filling left over, which you can use to make mini pies if you like.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes until the center barely giggles.

Allow the pie to cool down completely before serving. Just before serving, sprinkle some sugar on top of the pie and brûlée until the sugar has melted and turns a bit dark brown. Serve right away.

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Couscous with Roasted Carrots & Beets, Charred Endive and Apple Vinaigrette

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I did a market run today and got beautiful rainbow beets, carrots and endives which I used for this dish. I’ve been craving apple sauce lately so I incorporated it into the dressing. To me this is a hearty salad. And I love the taste of charred endives. I think all of the ingredients come together really well. The apple vinaigrette really goes well with the sweetness of the roasted veggies and the bitterness of the endive.

This recipe serves 2

Ingredients:

For the couscous:

1 cup of couscous

1 cup of vegetable stock

For the roasted vegetables:

2 small rainbow carrots, sliced

3 small rainbow beets, sliced into wedges

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

For the endive:

4 endive, sliced in half lengthwise

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Splash of apple cider vinegar

Salt

Pepper

For the dressing:

5 tablespoons of apple sauce

¼ cup of olive oil

¼ cup of apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon of mustard

1 tablespoon of honey

Salt

Pepper

Extras:

1 pomegranate

60gr of Gouda cheese, sliced into small blocks

Garden cress for decoration

 

Line an oven tray with parchment paper. Place the beets and carrots in the tray. Drizzle with some olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Cover the tray with aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes at 180C/350F.

To make the dressing, just place all of the ingredients in a jar, close it with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies.

Once the vegetables are roasted, start cooking the couscous. Place the couscous in a saucepan with a lid, add the vegetable stock and let it sit for 5 minutes. Once the 5 minutes have passed, fluff it with a fork.

To cook the endive, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan over medium heat. Place the endive, cut side facing down. Cook for 5 minutes and then turn them. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Cook for an extra 2 minutes. Then add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Mix the couscous with the dressing, cheese, pomegranate seeds, roasted beets and carrots. Serve with the endives on the side. Add some garden cress as decoration.

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Melon Salad with Roasted Shallot & Chili Vinaigrette

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Yesterday was such a beautiful sunny day that we went for a bike ride to the forest. I wanted to see the Scottish Highlands cows again. They are kept at the forest to naturally mow the grass and they are quite the attraction. They are such stunning animals and it’s a nice break from the city.

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My friend Karla introduced me to Tajin, a chili-lime seasoning, a few years ago. She would pretty much sprinkle it on everything from vegetables to fruits. I instantly loved it. I really wanted to eat a healthy salad yesterday and with the heat, the lighter the better. I made it with a mix of watermelon, melon, 2 different kinds of apples, a bit of blueberries and some arugula. For the dressing, I roasted some shallots in the oven and then blended them with the rest of the ingredients. This gives the dressing a nice creaminess. And because the Tajin seasoning goes so well with melon and apples, I added it to the dressing. It’s not a very spicy dressing, it’s subtle. The Tajin and cayenne just give it an extra kick.

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This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

2 cups of diced watermelon

2 cups of diced galia melon

100gr of feta, crumbled

½ red apple, thinly sliced

½ green apple, thinly sliced

½ cup of blueberries

2 handfuls of arugula

For the roasted shallot vinaigrette & chili vinaigrette:

4 small shallots

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

¼ of a cup of apple cider vinegar

1/3 of a cup of olive oil

½ teaspoon of Tajin chili-lime powder

1 tablespoon of honey

Pinch of cayenne

Salt to taste

For decoration:

1 handful of daikon cress

 

First roast the shallots; place them in an oven tray with the skin on. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and roast them at 180C/350F for 45 minutes. Once they are roasted, allow them to cool down enough to touch them. Then take the skins off.

Blend the roasted shallots with the rest of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Add salt last, after you’ve tasted it because the Tajin is already salty.

Divide the arugula between two plates. Then add the watermelon, melon and apples. Add the crumbled feta and the blueberries. Finish by adding the daikon cress. Serve with the vinaigrette on the side.

 

 

Brussels Sprouts, Apple and Gorgonzola Quesadillas

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I can’t remember ever eating Brussels sprouts growing up and I actually don’t know why. My two guesses are that either they were not very popular in Peru, or my mom (who is by the way a very good cook) doesn’t like them therefore she never made them. I am leaning towards the last one.  It is only since I moved to the Netherlands that I realized that I actually love them. They are tasty, cook quite fast and are super healthy. Now that they are in season I am making up for the lost time. This recipe makes 4 quesadillas.

Ingredients:

350gr Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 red onions, thinly sliced

2 apples, peeled and cut into small cubes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

8 flour tortillas

200gr of gorgonzola, crumbled

2 pomegranates

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Sour cream, to serve

 

Over medium-high heat, add the olive oil to a large pan.  Add the Brussels sprouts and the onions. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring from time to time.

Then add the apples and balsamic vinegar.  Stir for another minute and then add salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a bowl.

Place a tortilla in a large non-stick pan and add some of the sprouts mixture. Then sprinkle some of the pomegranate seeds and crumble some gorgonzola on top.  Cover with another tortilla. Cook over medium heat until it is crispy on the bottom. You will need to put a plate about the size of the tortilla over it to be able to flip it and avoid a mess. Once you have flipped it, cook until crispy and then transfer to a cutting board.

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Slice the quesadilla into four pieces. Repeat for the rest of the tortillas and filling. Serve with some sour cream.

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